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8/1/2006
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Oracle Upgrades Tools For Visual Studio, Competes On Microsoft's Turf

Oracle Developer Tools work inside Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 instead of just Visual Studio 2003.

Oracle has upgraded its tools for developing Oracle database applications so that they work inside Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 instead of just Visual Studio 2003. The move is a sign of how seriously Oracle wants to compete with Microsoft for the Windows database market.

Developers registered on the Oracle Developers Network are now able to download for free Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio.Net. Included is an upgraded Oracle Data Provider for .Net, Oracle's simplified means through which programmers access multiple databases. It supplies a single application programming interface.

Data Provider now supports Microsoft's ActiveX Data Objects.Net 2.0, which is connective software between applications and objects in a relational database. ADO.Net 2.0 supports XML in the database and supplies commands for interfacing to it. Oracle's tools include a debugger for PL/SQL, the version of SQL used for stored procedures and triggers in the Oracle database. With the new version of Oracle Developer Tools, a Visual Studio 2005 developer can be debugging Microsoft C# code, then switch to debugging PL/SQL code without leaving the Visual Studio graphical environment.

Oracle Developer Tools act as a plug-in to Visual Studio so developers don't need to switch from one to another, says Willie Hardie, Oracle's VP of database product marketing.

The Oracle debugger is a mature tool capable of setting breakpoints for test runs of code from inside Visual Studio 2005. Oracle's code editors also function according to Visual Studio 2005 conventions, allowing dragging and dropping of objects, display of object properties, and views of database tables. The Oracle tools support the Express, Standard, and Enterprise editions of Oracle back to the 8i version of the database, Hardie notes. It's currently on the 10g release.

In addition, Oracle tools have been optimized to work with the latest features of Oracle 10g, such as being able to determine the security context of data being accessed. Social Security numbers, for example, would have a different level of security applied to them than raw sales data.

The tools can invoke Oracle's clustering features and provide for failover when running on a multiserver cluster. They can also take advantage of data types that are specific to the Oracle system, including LOBS, or large objects, such as a picture that needs to be stored as a string of continuous pixels.

The upgrades of Oracle Developer Tools are distinct from Oracle's recent announcement on Oracle Warehouse Builder 10g Release 2.0, which is used in designing data warehouses and analytics applications.

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